Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed his future will be finalised after next week’s FA Cup final. The 67-year-old has just two matches remaining before his current contract expires but has yet to announce publicly if he will sign fresh terms to remain at the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger is approaching 21 years in charge of the Gunners but faces an uphill task to continue a proud record of finishing inside the Premier League top four in all of his full seasons at the helm.
Arsenal go into the final round of league fixtures in fifth, needing to beat Everton at home and hope either Liverpool or Manchester City slip up to allow them to gatecrash the Champions League places. After that, Wenger will prepare his players for a third FA Cup final in five years when they take on Chelsea at Wembley on May 27.
The Frenchman has been batting away questions over his future for the last few months, but confirmed a meeting held in the days following the final – where he will be looking to win a record eighth FA Cup – will be when his future is discussed. Asked when the board meeting is scheduled for, Wenger replied: “I think it is after the FA Cup final.”
When pushed on whether that is when a decision on his future will be finalised he said: “Yes. “You have certainly to know that there are many aspects of a football club which have to be discussed at a board meeting.
“One of them is, of course, what is happening with the manager, the future, the players who have to come in, the renewal of contracts. You don’t miss problems in a board meeting. “Of course I will be there. At the moment I think we should focus on short term and what’s going on on Sunday and in the cup final.”
A number of vocal Arsenal supporters have been leading protests in recent weeks against Wenger remaining in charge beyond this season. Banners have been flown over stadiums on planes, marches have taken place outside the Emirates Stadium and Tuesday’s win over Sunderland was boycotted by large swathes of fans.
Their protestations have largely been paid for by crowdfunding websites, and it remains to be seen what sort of reaction Wenger and his players will receive during the usual end of season parade lap on Sunday.
Those supporters will still be unaware of Wenger’s future but he does not believe that will matter ahead of what is a big day for the club, as they will discover whether they are playing Champions League football next year. Asked if the visit of Everton will be his last game in charge of Arsenal at the Emirates, he said: “Of the season…yes.
“I think what is the most important for us is to win the football game we play on Sunday. After that, what happens to me is less important. “I’m here to serve the club and the best way to do that is to win the next game.” As well as facing supporter protests, Wenger has also found an increased criticism from a host of former Arsenal players.
The likes of Thierry Henry, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown, Ian Wright and Paul Merson have all questioned whether he should go on beyond his current contract after the club dropped out of the race for the title and were humiliated in the Champions League, as Bayern Munich thrashed them 10-2 on aggregate.
Former captain Tony Adams is the latest to speak out against Wenger. Currently managing relegated LaLiga outfit Granada, Adams’ new autobiography is being serialised in a national newspaper.
“Back in the day I said in an interview coaching wasn’t Arsene’s strong point,” he wrote. “Actually in the original draft, I said he couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag. And though I modified that in the final article it didn’t go down well.
“It all left me feeling that I would never get a chance in any capacity while Arsene was there. “Much as I respected him for his long and successful tenure, my occasional willingness to pass comment on him and the team probably counted against me.”
Wenger, however, refused to offer a riposte, brushing off the quotes by replying: “Well, I do not give too much importance to what Tony Adams says. Honestly.” Arsenal go into Sunday’s final game with continuing fitness doubts over Laurent Koscielny.
The France international revealed earlier in the week that he requires daily treatment on an Achilles problem, but it is a slight calf injury which is currently causing him grief. He missed the win over Sunderland in the hope of being fit to face Everton, but could now be left on the sidelines with one eye on the cup final. Source: belfasttelegraph